Apr 102007
 
Authors: Jen Cintora

In a city with more than 600 restaurants and 30 bars, it can be hard to keep track of every daily special and happy-hour times.

That’s why CSU alumnus Brandon Tompkins decided to start mealticker.com, a free site where diners can find out where the best prices around town are.

“I got tired of sitting down at restaurants and seeing great daily lunch specials that I had no idea about and knew I wouldn’t remember,” Tompkins said.

The site currently spotlights mainly Fort Collins and some Loveland businesses. With time, Tompkins hopes to include the Denver area.

To get the specials, Tompkins makes monthly rounds to participating restaurants or pulls the promotions off their Web sites. Several restaurants can log on to the site and input their own weekly specials, a process that Tompkins hopes all participants will eventually use.

“I hope.that a restaurant can benefit from logging on the Web site early on a rainy day and enter a soup special,” he said. “Or a CSU basketball special and having people head there with their ticket for an instant special.”

Island Grill has advertised its deals on mealticker.com since the site’s start last September. Co-owner Hal Walker said it has, if anything, generated interest for his business at 2601 S. Lemay Ave.

“It’s definitely positive. People are talking about (the site) and bringing coupons in,” he said. “It’s a cool tool for people to know what’s going on.”

Kelsey Tateyama, a senior speech communications major, visits mealticker.com once or twice a week.

“It’s been great to not only get specials, but ideas of where to go,” she said. “It’s especially nice because there are so many restaurants that you may not even know about.”

The site currently includes nearly 70 businesses, ranging from Taco Del Mar to Macaroni Grill and nearly everything in between.

“It is great for the affluent that are deciding where to fine dine, college students looking for the cheapest eat and drink, couples looking for some live music, or families looking for ‘kids eat free’ specials,” Tompkins said.

Happy hours are often a popular choice with college students, but it can be hard to keep the times straight. The site offers a “College Scene” category that conveniently lists businesses’ happy hours for that day.

In addition to checking out the deals around town, visitors to the site can also register daily to win gift certificates to local eateries.

Eight businesses listed have joined with mealticker.com to benefit families of those serving overseas in the armed forces. Diners can print out the specials and turn them in at Island Grill, CooperSmith’s, Manno’s Grille at Collindale, Canino’s, Bear Rock Cafe, Pappy’s Corner Pub, Silver Grill, and Buffalo Wild Wings. The site will donate $5 for every print-off to operationhomefront.net.

Staff writer Jen Cintora can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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